On Thursday, the Israeli military said prosecutors had announced plans to file manslaughter charges against an Israeli Defense Forces medic who was caught on video shooting a wounded Palestinian attacker in the head, in an incident that has received unanimous international condemnation.
In the unsettling video, the medic walks up to the wounded Palestinian man who was lying on the ground, immobilized. After the Palestinian man raises his head to look up at the medic, the latter shoots him dead at point blank range.
The shooting, which took place last month in the West Bank city of Hebron, has become the focal point of a seven-month wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence. Prior to the posting of the video, the Israeli military claimed that two Palestinians had stabbed and wounded an Israeli soldier before the troops shot and killed both.
The video, posted by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, contradicted the account, as the executed Palestinian was clearly still alive after initially being shot by Israeli forces, leading to international calls for the soldier to face murder charges.
In his defense, the IDF medic claimed he believed the Palestinian man might have been wearing a bomb, and that the shooting was in self-defense. However, many question why a medic would walk up to a wounded attacker if he was afraid of being blown up.
Additionally, evidence has come to light that the Palestinian man was searched after he was wounded.
As other Israeli soldiers looked on aghast, the IDF medic was reported to say that "he deserved it," before shaking the hand of a hard-right Kahanist leader, lending credence to the belief that the killing was premeditated.
Nonetheless, a poll shows a majority of Israelis don’t believe the IDF medic should be charged with a crime, and another poll shows a majority believe he should be given an award for the killing.
Israel’s far-right has repeatedly called for all charges to be dropped, or the lesser charge of negligent homicide be advanced against the medic.
Manslaughter, which is defined as "the killing of a person without premeditation," can carry a sentence of up to 20 years, depending on the circumstances.